Obituary: Jay Melrose, professor emeritus of Communication Disorders

Jay Melrose, 81, of Amherst, professor emeritus of Communications Disorders, died March 3 at the Center for Extended care in Amherst.

Born in New York, he graduated from Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. He earned his B.A. in speech education at Queens College in 1948, then went to complete an M.A. and Ph.D. in speech and hearing science from the University of Illinois.

Prior to joining the Communication Disorders Department in 1970, he taught at the University of North Dakota, Queens College and the University of Iowa.

During his tenure in the department, he served as professor, undergraduate program director, graduate program director, director of clinical services and department chair. He retired from the department in 1988, but served as acting associate dean of the Graduate School from 1995-98.

He was a fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), editorial consultant to the national Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, and associate editor of the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research. He wrote several chapters for reference texts and published many articles in professional journals in his field.

He chaired the Committee on Ethics and Membership of the Massachusetts Speech, Language and Hearing Association and was elected president of the MSHA in 1974. Through his work on the state Task Force on Certification, he helped raise professional standards for Massachusetts speech pathologists and audiologists. He received the MSHA’s Distinguished Service Award and, in 1988, was awarded the Honors of the Association, the organization’s highest recognition.

A lifelong devotee of the performing arts, he acted in and directed college and community theater productions ranging from classical works to Broadway musicals. He had a passion for jazz and blues music, which he shared by conducting seminars on those topics through the Five College Learning in Retirement program. After his retirement, he studied African drumming and accompanied local African dance classes.

During World War II, he served as a radio intercept operator on Guam. He became a peace activist during the Vietnam War era.

He leaves his wife of 53 years, Barbara Milgrom Melrose; a daughter, Julie, of Hadley; a son, Ronald, of Astoria, N.Y., a sister, a grandson and several nieces and nephews.

At his request, there will be no funeral. A celebration of his life will be scheduled at a later date.

Memorial gifts may be made to the VNA/Hospice Alliance, P.O. Box 329, Northampton 01061 or to the Cancer Connection, P.O. Box 60452, Florence MA 01062.